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Damned If She Does, Damned If She Doesn't: Rethinking the Rules of the Game That Keep Women from Succeeding in Business Paperback – May 25, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Married couple and management consultants, Cronin and Fine tackle the persistent gap in workplace equality and payment parity between the sexes. After witnessing how much more quickly Fine advanced in his career—despite their near-identical education and work performance—and observing the difficulties that their daughter was facing in her job search, the couple took a long look at the factors holding women down. The book breaks down the corporate culture mantras (e.g., find mentors, be prudent in challenging the power structure) and the hidden impediments they pose for women. Despite major gains for women elsewhere in society, little has changed for women in corporate America; sexism is insidious rather than overt, and in dealing with men in the workplace, women are still presented with two options: fight them or become them. But becoming them can backfire, as Cronin and Fine demonstrate through stories of women struggling to break into corporate culture and bond with co-workers. This intelligent and substantive work is a must-read for all businesspeople—and will make an excellent graduation gift for young women entering the workforce. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"This intelligent and substantive work is a must-read for all businesspeople—and will make an excellent graduation gift for young women entering the workforce."
-Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616141743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616141745
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,557,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lynn Cronin (New York, NY) is a veteran consultant for many Fortune 500 companies who has also held numerous high-level corporate positions, including vice president of management development with Sony Music Entertainment Co., consultant and account manager for Watson Wyatt Worldwide (a global human resources consulting firm), and partner with Hewitt Associates (the leading global human resources consultancy).

Howard Fine (New York, NY) has a wealth of high-level managerial experience, including Senior Managing Director of the Human Capital Management Solutions division of Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. (ACS), Executive Managing Director of Buck Consultants, Managing Director at Watson Wyatt Worldwide, and partner with Hewitt Associates.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susan on May 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
The authors present the stories of women who, like me, struggled to find their place in corporate America, often discovering that hard work and total immersion do not necessarily go hand-in-hand with advancement. This book provides remarkable insights and guidance that could significantly benefit the next generation of women managers and executives. I highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Frankly, I didn't think I'd ever see anything original on this topic. Most books on women and business are either whiny or over-the-top cheery.

Cronin and Fine will help a lot of women with their message: "It's probably not your fault if you're hitting a wall. If you follow the corporate culture, the rules won't work for you. If you don't...well, organizations punish rule-breakers."

I was particularly taken with the example of the woman who joined a colleague in bringing a sensitive issue to the attention of their mutual boss's boss. He was praised for being a courageous leader; she was criticized for challenging a male boss. Any woman who's been in the corporate world more than ten minutes will have her own examples. A male professor friend was horrified when his female department head asked him to call the maintenance people about a problem; when she called, her requests landed at the bottom of the pile.

The book is well written and extremely easy to follow. It's actually hard to put down.

My only complaint is that the authors claim, "Change has to come at the organizational level." In fact, some women do rise to senior corporate positions. They do become senators and college presidents. It would be useful to ask, "How did they do it? Did they modify the rules?"

Additionally we can learn lessons from the military, where women are expected to dress and behave in ways that aren't typically feminine. I recently read and reviewed a book about a female African American woman who became a Captain in US Navy; she used humor to defuse tense situations. Women are flying planes off carrier decks and getting named to command West Point cadet brigades. They don't just get jobs: they get promoted. What's their secret?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Y. Lin on May 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
Cronin and Fine offer not only original insights into the unspoken realities of the corporate workplace, but real solutions to the problems they enumerate. As a female ivy-league graduate in corporate America, I have found more practically useful advice in this book than in any other of its kind. Having incorporated some of Cronin and Fine's intelligent reasoning to my own world-view, I now better understand my male peers and superiors and have developed better work relationships with them. I strongly recommend this book to everyone, especially to young women trying to advance their careers. This book will be useful to women working in any hierarchical workplace, be it a corporation or a hospital. As individuals we might not be able to change the entire system, but the things this book will teach you will help you better navigate your way. I am forever indebted to the person who introduced me to this work-- if you have female friends or relatives who are looking to enter the workplace and you want to help them along, send them a copy of this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Heasley on May 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
'The system works' is the basic conclusion of Lynn Cronin and Howard Fine. But it works differently for men than for women, and how women fit in to a male-dominated corporate hierarchy, succeed and thrive is the subject of this book. Not by defying the corporate culture, but by recognizing how its assumptions are different from theirs in subtle ways and making the subtle changes in attitude to succeed. Lynn and Howard believe in the 'coed company' and persuade the reader to believe in it too - by resisting the easy confrontational solutions and opting for long-term success.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Kim on May 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
Damned if She Does, Damned if She Doesn't provides a strikingly original insight into gender disparities within the corporate world. What makes this book useful are the parallels one can draw between themes of gender disparities within the working world and overall contextual themes of gender disparities in everyday life. This is a highly recommended read for those entering the working world or those who seek to gain additional insight into the nuances of gender roles. However, this is a wonderful read for anyone!
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